In response to the more than 60 Kassam, mortar, and Grad rockets fired from the Gaza Strip since Saturday, the IDF has launched retaliatory strikes they hope will end the recent back-and-forth with Hamas without further escalation.
Four military-grade projectiles — the IDF could not confirm yet whether they are Kassam, mortar, or Grad rockets — were just fired at the Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council area near the border with the northern Gaza Strip.
The attacks, Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich told reporters on a conference call a short while ago, have been coming from seven launch points in Gaza, though the IDF only targeted six of them for retaliation.
“The reason we only targeted six was because [near] the seventh one we identified civilians,” Leibovich said. “So we eliminated that target. This is really the point here, that the IDF retaliates to protect its citizens, defend this country, only when we have information that there are no civilians in that area.”
On the Israeli side, Leibovich said she can confirm damage to houses and a handful of injuries.
Leibovich said Israel has no desire to escalate the conflict. I asked her if there are plans for a deeper retaliation if Hamas continues the rocket fire. She responded: “Look, the IDF has one goal, to try and eliminate terrorists, to try and reduce the launchings into Israel. This is our goal. I hope that Hamas will realize the situation and also to choose not to escalate. At our end, we do not wish to escalate the situation.”
— Seth Mandel is a foreign-affairs writer specializing in the Middle East.